UNICEF launches parenting app Bebbo to support parents and caregivers of young children
The new free mobile application in Macedonian and Albanian language provides parents in North Macedonia with expert advice on all aspects of their children’s health and well-being
Skopje, 6 July 2022– Today, UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Ministry of Education and Science, is releasing “Bebbo”, the first mobile parenting application designed to support parents and other caregivers of children from 0 to 6 years old. At the event participants also opened discussion on systemic strengthening of services to help parents and caregivers give their children a good start, for a lifetime.
“Being a parent is one of the most important jobs in the world. Every parent needs support, some more than others,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative. “Now, more than ever we need investment in programmes and policies so that parents have the time to spend with their children, the means to provide for them and the support they need to develop parenting skills, make the right choices and take care of their own mental health and wellbeing to be the best parents for their children that they can be.”
Parenting programmes – including education programmes, home visiting services, helplines, community services and digital tools - give parents the support they need to learn practical tips and guidance on positive parenting and nurturing caregiving and support their own well-being and mental health. Bebbo is free parenting support app and an extra tool to guide parents and caregivers in the demanding journey of parenting.
Bebbo was developed by UNICEF Europe and Central Asia to provide parents with expert advice on a large range of child health and development issues, from nutrition and breastfeeding to early learning and the value of play, responsive parenting, protection and safety. It also includes specific guidance for parents and caregivers on how to care for their own well-being.
During the event, recognizing the need for wider parenting support, experts gave presentations to inspire discussion on how to strengthen systemic support for parents of young children. Patronage nurses, family doctors, kindergarten teachers, social workers and other experts joined the discussion focusing on improving inter-sectoral cooperation and building capacities and skills of professionals to support nurturing caregiving and responsive parenting. This was also an opportunity for frontline workers to get familiarized with Bebbo as an additional resource in their work with parents.
The inputs from the discussions will contribute to the development of a national parenting strategy and strengthening of the existing parenting programmes and parenting support services.
“Тoday's discussions are of particular importance for us because we expect to receive a significant contribution from frontline workers for the preparation of the National Parenting Strategy. The goal of the strategy is to strengthen parenting support services, identify resources and initiatives to improve positive parenting skills, improve the skills of professionals to promote positive parenting techniques and non-violent approach to child discipline, as well as support the mental health and well-being of parents and caregivers. With this strategy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy aims to promote a positive family environment in which children and youth can grow and thrive, while also encouraging intersectoral collaboration of services to empower families and help build their resilience,” said Jovana Trencevska, Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
“We know the importance of the early years in life and the support to parents to make informed decisions when it comes to the health of their child. Health cannot be seen in isolation from other societal segments as they interplay and interact constantly. Bebbo is an example of cross-sectoral and systematic support for parents,“ said Bekim Sali, Minister of Health.
“The parent is the child's first teacher. I see education as a cycle involving teachers, parents and students who will also become future parents. Therefore, it is necessary to involve parents in the education system through development of programmes and active participation in school councils,” said Jeton Shaqiri, Minister of Education and Science.
In North Macedonia, UNICEF, in partnership with the Institute for Public Health, worked closely with partners and early childhood development experts to develop Macedonian and Albanian language version and ensure this mobile app is tailored for local use and meets national needs.
The application was developed with the financial support from the EU as part of the broader support UNICEF and the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations provide under the two-year initiative to strengthen national health, education, early childhood development, and child protection systems to ensure continuity in the provision of core services for vulnerable children and their families in the immediate and the longer-term recovery response to COVID-19 in the countries of Western Balkans and Turkey.
Notes to Editors on “Bebbo”:
Bebbo includes features allowing parents to track key development milestones, and record growth, vaccinations, and health check-ups such as:
Articles from a rich library of advice written by experts, covering a large range of topics available in the app such as baby weaning and early learning.
It offers games – plenty of ideas on how to engage in playful interaction with children through games that will stimulate learning and development. Parents will be able to choose games that support the development of motor and socio-emotional skills, language, communication and cognition.
Child development tracker - this tool is easy-to-use and helps parents track their child’s progress in reaching the milestones recommended for his/her age. It will assist parents on how to support development through play.
Vaccination - a handy vaccination record is available for parents to easily track and record their child’s vaccinations.
Health check-up – this section allows parents to note down information from their child’s doctor visits, as well as setting reminders for doctor’s appointments.
Child growth – this tool allows parents to track their child’s measurements such as height and weight
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.